Time is running out to donate to the National Conservation Foundation (NCF)’s Next Generation Leadership Campaign. In October, NCF alongside the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) launched this campaign to help bridge the generational gap among leadership. There is no greater cause than investing in those who will succeed us as the future leaders of the conservation mission.
My leadership career began many years ago when I consulted my local conservation district to apply for program assistance. I had several questions regarding which programs were right for my operation and was advised to reach out to long-time district official and past NACD Secretary-Treasurer Larry Beeler to answer my questions. Beeler not only gave me insight into what practices were best for conservation to be successful, but he urged me to run for a local position at the district. Beeler described how local conservation was just a part of the picture and being involved at the state level was necessary to help ensure the local needs for programs and funding were met. As I now prepare to become NACD’s next president, I don’t necessarily feel Beeler was completely honest about what I was getting into all those years ago, but I am so grateful for his encouragement.
It’s our turn to be that voice of encouragement for the next generation. To me, leadership means opportunity. It’s an opportunity to use past experiences to build relationships and effect change. Leadership provides an avenue to combine national perspectives into a voice that carries. For individuals seeking to be more involved, the Next Generation Leadership program will give them the means necessary to best attain their goals. Additionally, I’m optimistic this program will help the next generation become better equipped and prepared to help their districts, state and national associations. Providing a leadership development program ensures the needs of the land and the people are met for the future. Through this program, the next generation will not only receive proper training and resources to become effective leaders, but obtain a support group of other like-minded peers with a shared focus of conserving the nation’s natural resources.
I am beyond proud of my time in NACD leadership and the experiences I’ve had, which is why creating access and resources for future leaders could not be more important. Empower tomorrow’s leaders by donating to the Next Generation Leadership Campaign today. I encourage my friends, colleagues and fellow leaders to continue preserving the conservation mission by investing in this program—donations made by the end of this year will be matched dollar for dollar.